Gaining visibility of your onboard systems: you can’t secure something you can’t see.


Monitoring is the backbone of good cyber risk management. If you don't know what assets you have and can't see what is happening to those assets, then you can't respond properly if they are under attack. But some fleet operators struggle to justify the budget until they better understand the volume and severity of cyber risks they're exposed to - a vicious cycle, where lack of visibility leads to lack of action. Shipping IT managers can break out of this vicious cycle and implement some basic cybersecurity monitoring. This article sets out some practical guidance to get started. The rationale is clear: even some basic monitoring and a response plan makes your vessel significantly harder to attack than the next one.

Today's reality in shipping: virtual blindness

Ask most shipping IT professionals if they are able to gain visibility of their vessel networks and cyber risks and most of them will openly admit they can't. At our recent virtual conference - CyberSecure at Sea - we asked ~120 shipping IT professionals the most important lesson that business continuity plans under lockdown has taught them about cybersecurity.

Nearly 75% of them admitted to a lack of understanding of their vessel networks and devices - 36% had insufficient central visibility and 38% found a lot more IT, connectivity and shadow IT than they realised was onboard.

So most of the time, most fleet operators aren't confident what they have on their vessels, how these are connected to the (supposedly) separated OT and Business networks, what vulnerabilities they create and how cyber threats are propagating across them. 

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